- Lockheed Martin said it was being targeted by hackers from China
- Company is building new Joint Strike Fighter which is ‘invisible’ on radar
- Team of ‘young geeks’ battling against cyber attacks at British base
Chinese cyber spies have been caught trying to steal the secrets of Britain’s most sophisticated combat jet, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
A covert unit within the Chinese Army has been using highly sophisticated cyber weapons in a desperate attempt to acquire classified information about the stealthy Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin claims it is thwarting tens of thousands of computer attacks every week to keep secure secrets about the jet – due to be in service with the Royal Navy and RAF by 2018. Continue reading
Chinese hackers “bombard” the Pentagon’s computer systems “by the millions each and every day” searching for a point of entry into the sensitive U.S. computing systems, according to officials speaking at an event on cybersecurity on Tuesday.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other high-level former U.S. officials warned during a discussion at The American Center for Democracy (ACD) that the U.S. government is woefully underprepared to combat and repel even the most benign type of cyber attack. Continue reading
Chinese hackers have hit nearly every Washington institution, according to unnamed intelligence officials.
“The dark secret is there is no such thing as a secure unclassified network,” one said in a Newser report. “Law firms, think tanks, newspapers. If there’s something of interest, you should assume you’ve been penetrated.” Continue reading
The Obama administration plan to counter massive cyber espionage from China will not focus on a single country, a White House official said.
The administration is set to release its “Strategy to Mitigate the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets” at a press conference of senior officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder.
“This strategy is not focused on any one country nor is it focused on cybersecurity exclusively, though cyber does play an important role in the strategy,” the official said. Continue reading
The U.S. Department of Energy has confirmed that its computer systems were hacked into last month. According to The New York Times, the federal agency sent around an internal e-mail on Friday telling its employees about the cyberattack.
“The Department of Energy has just confirmed a recent cyber incident that occurred in mid-January which targeted the Headquarters’ network and resulted in the unauthorized disclosure of employee and contractor Personally Identifiable Information,” the e-mail said. Continue reading
As long as the United States remains unwilling to fight fire with fire on some fronts, especially cyber warfare, expect things to get much worse — such as one day shutting down banks and grinding the economy to a halt.
China’s state-sanctioned cybercrime is a global “menace” according to Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, as he predicts a revolution in the country in the coming decades in his latest book.
“The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage,” because “the United States will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violate the American sense of fair play,” the book claims. Continue reading
DHS warns about new ‘watering hole’ cyber attack vulnerability as a high-tech firm also reportedly is hit
The Department of Homeland Security warned Internet Explorer users this week about a new software flaw used in remote cyber attacks as Microsoft issued an advisory on the embattled browser’s software hole.
The response followed reports in the Free Beacon revealing that hackers linked to China attacked the Council on Foreign Relations website and used it as a watering hole for a sophisticated cyberespionage attack. Continue reading
Computer hackers traced to China carried out an advanced cyber espionage attack against one of America’s most elite foreign policy web groups – the website of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
According to private computer-security forensic specialists, the hacking incident involved a relatively new type of ploy called a “drive-by” website cyber attack that was detected around 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
The specialists, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attack involved penetrating the computer server that operates the New York City-based CFR’s website and then using the pirated computer system to attack CFR members and others who visited or “drove by” the site. Continue reading
Report: Chinese military cyber warfare units identified
China’s military is conducting extensive cyber warfare and spying operations through several electronic intelligence units, including a group identified for the first time called Beijing North Computing Center, according to a new report by a private research group.
“Chinese cyber espionage poses an advanced persistent threat to U.S. national and economic security,” states the report, set for publication Friday. Continue reading
Canada “has been slow” to set up firewalls to protect against cyber threats to critical infrastructure, leaving the nation vulnerable to crippling attacks, the auditor general warned Tuesday.
In a report, Auditor General Michael Ferguson said the government has made only “limited progress” over the past decade to safeguard electrical grids, telecommunications infrastructure, banking systems, manufacturing and transportation, as well as its own computers. Continue reading
What good is a nuclear deterrent when it’s compromised? The “MAD” concept has been effectively thrown out the window. What’s more is the American public is 99.9% unaware of the grave danger this puts them in, let alone it happened at all. Sadly, the only “football” most are concerned about is the one that gets tossed around on Monday nights.
Hackers linked to China’s government broke into one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive computer networks, breaching a system used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands, according to defense and intelligence officials familiar with the incident.
One official said the cyber breach was one of Beijing’s most brazen cyber attacks against the United States and highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyber attacks.
U.S. officials familiar with reports of the White House hacking incident said it took place earlier this month and involved unidentified hackers, believed to have used computer servers in China, who accessed the computer network used by the White House Military Office (WHMO), the president’s military office in charge of some of the government’s most sensitive communications, including strategic nuclear commands. The office also arranges presidential communications and travel, and inter-government teleconferences involving senior policy and intelligence officials.
“This is the most sensitive office in the U.S. government,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the work of the office. “A compromise there would cause grave strategic damage to the United States.”
Security officials are investigating the breach and have not yet determined the damage that may have been caused by the hacking incident, the officials said.
Despite the administration national security official’s assertion, one defense official said there is fairly solid intelligence linking the penetration of the WHMO network to China, and there are concerns that the attackers were able to breach the classified network.
Details of the cyber attack and the potential damage it may have caused remain closely held within the U.S. government.
However, because the military office handles strategic nuclear and presidential communications, officials said the attack was likely the work of Chinese military cyber warfare specialists under the direction of a unit called the 4th Department of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, or 4PLA.
It is not clear how such a high-security network could be penetrated. Such classified computer systems are protected by multiple levels of security and are among the most “hardened” systems against digital attack.
However, classified computer systems were compromised in the past using several methods. They include the insertion of malicious code through a contaminated compact flash drive; a breach by a trusted insider, as in the case of the thousands of classified documents leaked to the anti-secrecy web site Wikileaks; and through compromised security encryption used for remote access to secured networks, as occurred with the recent compromise involving the security firm RSA and several major defense contractors.
According to the former official, the secrets held within the WHMO include data on the so-called “nuclear football,” the nuclear command and control suitcase used by the president to be in constant communication with strategic nuclear forces commanders for launching nuclear missiles or bombers.
The office also is in charge of sensitive continuity-of-government operations in wartime or crises.
The former official said if China were to obtain details of this sensitive information, it could use it during a future conflict to intercept presidential communications, locate the president for targeting purposes, or disrupt strategic command and control by the president to U.S. forces in both the United States and abroad.
Former McAffee cyber threat researcher Dmitri Alperovitch said he was unaware of the incident, but noted: “I can tell you that the Chinese have an aggressive goal to infiltrate all levels of U.S. government and private sector networks.”
“The White House network would be the crown jewel of that campaign so it is hardly surprising that they would try their hardest to compromise it,” said Alperovictch, now with the firm Crowdstrike.
Last week the senior intelligence officer for the U.S. Cyber Command said Chinese cyber attacks and cyber-espionage against Pentagon computers are a constant security problem.
“Their level of effort against the Department of Defense is constant” and efforts to steal economic secrets are increasing, Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, Cyber Command director of intelligence, told Reuters after a security conference.
“It’s continuing apace,” Cox said of Chinese cyber-espionage. “In fact, I’d say it’s still accelerating.”
The office is also in charge of the White House Communications Agency, which handles all presidential telephone, radio, and digital communications, as well as airlift operations through both fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft.
It also operates the presidential retreat at Camp David and the White House Transportation Agency.
“To assure proper coordination and integration, the WHMO also includes support elements such as operations; policy, plans, and requirements; administration, information resource management; financial management and comptroller; WHMO counsel; and security,” the website states.
“Together, WHMO entities provide essential service to the president and help maintain the continuity of the presidency.”
A report by the defense contractor Northrop Grumman made public by the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in March stated that China’s military has made targeting of U.S. command and control networks in cyber warfare a priority.
“Chinese capabilities in computer network operations have advanced sufficiently to pose genuine risk to U.S. military operations in the event of a conflict,” the report said.
“PLA analysts consistently identify logistics and C4ISR infrastructure as U.S. strategic centers of gravity suggesting that PLA commanders will almost certainly attempt to target these system with both electronic countermeasures weapons and network attack and exploitation tools, likely in advance of actual combat to delay U.S. entry or degrade capabilities in a conflict,” the report said.
C4ISR is military jargon for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Little is known within the U.S. intelligence community about Chinese strategic cyber warfare programs.
However, recent military writings have disclosed some aspects of the program, which is believed to be one of Beijing’s most closely guarded military secrets, along with satellite weapons, laser arms, and other high-technology military capabilities, such as the DF-21 ballistic missile modified to attack aircraft carriers at sea.
A Chinese military paper from March stated that China is seeking “cyber dominance” as part of its efforts to build up revolutionary military capabilities.
“In peacetime, the cyber combat elements may remain in a ‘dormant’ state; in wartime, they may be activated to harass and attack the network command, management, communications, and intelligence systems of the other countries’ armed forces,” wrote Liu Wangxin in the official newspaper of the Chinese military on March 6.
“While great importance is attached continuously to wartime actions, it is also necessary to pay special attention to non-wartime actions,” he said. “For example, demonstrate the presence of the cyber military power through cyber reconnaissance, cyber deployment, and cyber protection activities.”
Full article: White House Hack Attack (Washington Free Beacon)
BOSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is looking into claims by a cyber security researcher that flaws in software for specialized networking equipment from Siemens could enable hackers to attack power plants and other critical systems.
The Department of Homeland Security said in an alert released on Tuesday that it had asked RuggedCom to confirm the vulnerability that Clarke, a 30-year-old security expert who has long worked in the electric utility field, had identified and identify steps to mitigate its impact.
“If you can get to the inside, there is almost no authentication, there are almost no checks and balances to stop you,” Clarke said.
Marcus Carey, a researcher with Boston-based security firm Rapid7, said potential attackers might exploit the bug discovered by Clarke to disable communications networks as one element of a broader attack.
“It’s a big deal,” said Carey, who previously helped defend military networks as a member of the U.S. Navy Cryptologic Security Group. “Since communications between these devices is critical, you can totally incapacitate an organization that requires the network.”
The report on the RuggedCom vulnerability is among 90 released so far this year by ICS-CERT about possible risks to critical infrastructure operators. That is up from about 60 in the same period a year earlier, according to data published on the agency’s website.
Full article: US Nuclear Power Plants May Be Totally Vulnerable To Hackers (Business Insider)